Sunday, February 25, 2018

GROWING SEEDS: "Thank You, Lord....Thank You"

Billy Graham, 99, blinked his cataract eyes this week and looked straight eye-to-eye into his Heavenly Father's face.   Billy Graham had the Joy of Belief.....

"My home is in Heaven. I'm just traveling through this world."
Billy Graham

YES!  That is the quote I want to paint on my wall, tattoo on my hand and sticky-note to my rearview mirror.  That is the one thing we Christians tend to forget the most.  We are simply travelers in a foreign land here.....hiking our way Home.  And along this difficult earthly path, we try to spread the cure of the malignancy of the soul to everyone we meet (italic quote by Kathie Lee Gifford)......

Billy Graham taught us that our time on this earth is like a minute in eternity.  We get so caught up in the troubles and earthly possessions around us, we think we can't endure anymore.  Life is too hard....we have been wronged and hurt and alone and without....forgetting it's all temporary.  TEMPORARY.  The things of this world WILL grow strangely dim, friends.......

"Turn your eyes upon Jesus....look full in His wonderful face".  I can only imagine Billy Graham doing just that right now.  Eye to eye....hand to hand....he and Jesus sitting next to each other at this very moment.  The love of Billy's life here on earth, Ruth, who died several years ago, is sitting nearby with them.  I imagine Jesus talking to Billy as the Best Friends that they are.  I can't wait to be there when Billy receives his very many crowns....

And I can't help but ask myself, "Have I accomplished the work God intended for ME to do while journeying through my time on earth?  Have I honored him with my words, with my deeds, with my love like Billy did?  Or have I kept this cure for the malignancy of the soul to myself....not sharing it with everyone I meet or being the hands and feet of Christ every chance I got?  Why in the world would I keep this to myself," I ask.

There's a party happening in heaven this week....and the line is long with the many witnesses anxious to meet a white haired preacher named Billy Graham.  

Have your cameras ready, folks....I plan to shake his hand some day.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

GROWING SEEDS: "Blessed With Thankfulness"

"As He (Jesus) entered a village there, ten lepers stood at a distance, crying out, 
"Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!"  
Luke 17:12

Back a few years ago, there was this adorably shy 10 year-old girl that came each summer to Lunches of Love.  Her eyes would twinkle when she looked at you and she had the sincerest of smiles covering her beautiful face.  Life had not always been kind to this 10-year old, but what made her unique and stand out from all the 150 other kids at Lunches of Love was......she would always come back and "thank" those of us who served her lunch, before she left.  The only one that did.....

I immediately thought of Savanah when I read today's scripture....

"One of them, when he saw that he was healed, came back to Jesus, shouting, "Praise God!".  
He fell to the ground at Jesus' feet, thanking Him for what He had done."  
Luke 17:15

This 10-year old knew the importance of gratitude.  Somewhere along the difficult road of her life, she had learned how to express and pass on the joy she was feeling in her heart, knowing full well it would not only bless her but others as well.

Savanah is now 15......and the kindness and love that lives in her heart can't help but be seen in her beautiful blue eyes.  I will never forget the awkward 10-year old who remembered to come bless us with her thankfulness.

"Feeling Gratitude and not expressing it, 
is like wrapping a present and not giving it."
William Arthur Ward

Sunday, February 4, 2018

GROWING SEEDS: "Read & Believe"

"When you remember me, 
it means you have carried something of who I am with you, 
that I have left some mark of who I am on who you are.  
It means that even after I die, 
you can still see my face and hear my voice 
and speak to me in your heart."  
Frederick Buechner

Two months ago, I received a call from a good friend telling me his wife Sammie had just been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  That very night, I received an instant message from another family friend who informed us his wife Phyllis had also been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer earlier that week.  Neither of these two friends knew each other.....and yet, were walking the same dark road...parallel roads of life.....and I prayed deeply for both families as they struggled to understand and to feel God's hand in theirs as they traveled these final miles on earth.

Three days ago, Phyllis passed away.  Less than 24 hours later and thousands of miles apart, Sammie passed away.  Sometimes death feels like a sucker-punch to the stomach, doesn't it?   

How do you view death?  Do you fear it....or do you embrace the fact that you are hopefully about to see the face of God and to hear the voice you've longed to hear?  As I stared into the eyes of Sammie this past Friday, just hours away from seeing her Creator, I could only imagine what those beautiful green eyes of hers were about to see.....what her ears were about to hear....and what her soul was about to feel.  

I could only imagine.....and there was this part of me that actually was jealous of her in that moment.

And I glance over to the Bible laid open next to me on the armrest of my favorite chair just now and I see where I had written the words, "Read & Believe" next to a scripture that had been highlighted and underlined many years ago in my Bible:

"That is why we never give up.
Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.
For our present troubles are small and won't last very long.
Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!"
2 Corinthians 4:16